2012 Volkswagen Beetle

PZEV FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I5 man trans

2012 volkswagen beetle Reviews and News

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo And 2012 Nissan Juke Parked
Allow us to stop you before you even begin. We're well aware there are many other turbocharged compact cars on the market that can out-gun the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo, and the 2012 Nissan Juke SL and cost about the same amount of money. We've praised the now-arriving Ford Focus ST, tussled with the hairy Mazdaspeed 3, and named the Volkswagen GTI our Automobile of the Year twice in the past five years. Why look elsewhere for forced-induction fun?
With apologies to Lloyd Price, the answer lies with personality. This trio offers it in spades, thanks to oddball styling and quirky features both inside and out. Regardless of the tack, each car packs about 200 horsepower, offers a six-speed manual for row-it-yourself entertainment, and is priced between $23,000 and $25,000, making any one a surprisingly affordable proposition.
Which one best suits our personalities? We criss-crossed southeastern Michigan in all three to find out for ourselves.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

If the first cut is the deepest, the second might just be the most entertaining - or so the Veloster Turbo would have you believe. Our first experience with the basic Veloster had us flummoxed: we enjoyed its boy-racer looks and dash of practicality, but its meager output - only 138 hp - along with relaxed handling had us wishing its attitude matched its cosmetic pretenses.
Thankfully, the Veloster Turbo feels as if it's finally trying to live up to its looks. A revised steering rack feels heavier, as does the clutch, which grabs surprisingly early. Brakes offer quick bite, and there's little travel or sponginess to the pedal itself. Acceleration is certainly spritely compared to the base Veloster, thanks to a dual-scroll turbocharger bolted onto the direct-injection 1.6-liter I-4. From a horsepower perspective, its 201 ponies edges out both the Beetle Turbo and the Juke, though its 195 lb-ft places it mid-pack in terms of torque. Power junkies may not care, but there's another number that's important: 38. As in 38 mpg, which is what the EPA rates the Veloster Turbo at on the highway test cycle. It's far better than either the Beetle or Juke, which return 30 and 31 mpg, respectively.
The Veloster Turbo's true secret weapon isn't underhood. Spend an extra $1200 - roughly the same you'd pay for this matte grey paint - and Hyundai slaps super-sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber on all four rims. The change in tire compound completely alters the character of the car, and for the better. As we noted during our very first drive of the Turbo, the steering still feels somewhat dead on center, but on our PSS-equipped car, it somehow grows more responsive the more you dial in steering. You'll be able to dive quite deep, as Hyundai says these tires alone increase lateral grip from .82 to .94 g.
Ride quality, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Although it's more compliant than previous Hyundai sports cars - notably the Genesis Coupe - the Veloster Turbo grows perturbed over rough road surfaces, especially when encountered in the middle of a bend. "All that grip doesn't inspire much confidence if there happens to be a bump mid-corner," noted senior web editor Phil Floraday. "Hyundai really needs to figure out how to make a sporty suspension that can soak up the bumps as well as class-leaders, but not allow excess body roll."
The Veloster's scalloped door pulls, polka-dot headliner, V-shaped instrument panel, and center-mounted start/stop button may not be for everyone, but they do go a long way towards livening up a somewhat dark interior. We're more impressed with just how much room there is inside, considering the Veloster boasts a roofline that could double as a ski slope. Front headroom is only four-tenths of an inch away from the group-leading Beetle, but front leg and shoulder room - 43.9 and 55.6 inches, respectively - trounce the other two cars. Rear seat headroom suffers slightly, but passengers squeezed through the third door are treated to 54 inches of shoulder room, along with 31.7 inches of legroom - the latter only a half-inch shy of the best-in-group Juke.
But wait, there's more. In typical Hyundai fashion, the Veloster Turbo comes pretty well equipped right out of the gate. A 450-watt, 8-speaker sound system? Standard. An infotainment system, complete with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and USB inputs? Standard. Leather seating with heated front seats? It's also standard, as are push-button door locks and ignition. There's little else to possibly throw at the car, apart from the aforementioned paint, tires, and a $2500 premium package that adds navigation and a panoramic sunroof.

2012 Nissan Juke SL FWD

Yes, we're pitting the Juke against two small hatchbacks, and we're doing so with a straight face. Nissan's ad copywriters may consider the Juke a crossover (or a "sport cross," as they phrase it), but its physical dimensions suggest it's really a small hatchback, albeit one with substantial ground clearance. Not only is the Juke built atop the same B-car platform as Nissan's Cube, but also its wheelbase, overall length, width, and track all trail both the Beetle and Veloster.
Based in part off the 2009 Qazana concept, the Juke's exterior design is an unusual recipe, concocted of one part Baja buggy, one part hatchback, and a dozen parts peyote. The wedge-shaped turn signals are certainly odd, but they grow even more unusual at night: from behind the wheel, they appear as two tangerine orbs floating in a sea of darkness.
Though different, the Juke's contorted styling - along with its slender footprint - does crimp interior space. Front passengers will likely feel a little pinched: there's only 53.6 inches of shoulder room, and thanks to the scalloped shape of the front door panels, it's nearly impossible to slide a hand or arm between the door and the seat rail to adjust the seat. The Veloster not only trumps the Juke in terms of passenger volume, but also boasts five additional cubic feet of cargo space (15.5 cubic feet vs. 10.5) with the rear seats up. Rear-seat passengers will ultimately be rewarded with a little more head and legroom than in either the Beetle or Veloster, but will be forced to contort through tight, oddly-shaped door openings.
At $24,335, this Juke SL is the least expensive model in our trio, but you can hardly tell by looking at it. Nissan's cabin is full of smooth plastic surfaces, and accented by a contrasting center console inspired by a motorcycle's fuel tank. Top-tier SL models gain a Rockford Fosgate audio system, navigation, leather seating with heated front cushions, and a rear-view camera. The LCD-based HVAC controls, which allow the driver to alter both climate and car settings, isn't a must-have feature, but it does come off as surprisingly high tech - especially for a car in this price range.
It's worth playing with those very controls to try the "sport" powertrain settings. Nissan's turbocharged, direct-injection 1.6-liter I-4 delivers 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, but the sport function alters how it's sent to the front wheels. The throttle pedal becomes a hair trigger, and after suffering what feels like endless turbo lag, the Juke suddenly jolts forward once boost builds. Power comes quickly, and snaps the little Nissan forward in a startling manner. Of the three cars, it's arguably the most visceral when rocketing in a straight-line, despite having less power on tap than either the Volkswagen or the Hyundai.
We enjoyed pitching the Juke into corners and threading it through congested city streets, but ultimately found it a bit dynamically lacking. The Dakar-inspired stance also induces more body roll than the Beetle and Veloster, and the steering - though quick - feels numb and a bit too boosted, even in its heaviest (Sport) setting. "The Juke would likely be a better driver if the center of gravity were lowered," noted Floraday. "I have fun tossing the Juke around, but it's not quite the same amount of fun you have while driving either the Veloster or Beetle."
Opinions in our group were split: some suggested Nissan's suspension tuning is "just right," while associate editor David Zenlea insists it errs on the side of choppy. Ride quality is generally pleasant, though the rear end grows skittish over broken surfaces. Nissan does have a more refined multi-link suspension arrangement than the simplistic torsion beam rear axle found in our tester, but offers it only on all-wheel-drive Jukes.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

Does a Volkswagen GTI presented in a different wrapper still taste as sweet? After spending some time with the Beetle Turbo, we're inclined to answer that with a resounding "almost."
The Beetle Turbo is perhaps the ultimate expression of Volkswagen's attempt to lend the new New Beetle an air of masculinity it lacked from square one. Inspired in part by the 2005 Ragster concept, the Beetle's new roofline looks lower and less rounded than before, as if it were chopped by hot rodders. Squint, and you just might see some hints of the original Porsche 930 Turbo, including the black rocker molding and two-tone whale tail rear spoiler.
Inside, the Beetle is all - well, Beetle. The bud vase is no more, but retro cues are still abundant. The rectangular dash accent, trimmed in faux carbon fiber on Turbo models, recalls early air-cooled Bug dashboards, down to the secondary glove box. Body colored accents on the door panels amplify the flashback, as do the dangling grab handles mounted on the B-pillars. The squashed windshield and side window openings lend the car a chopped-top feel, but there's still ample head, leg, and shoulder room for front passengers. With a steering column and seats that are nearly infinitely adjustable, it's easy for drivers of all shapes and sizes to find a comfortable driving position.
At 200 hp and 206 lb-ft, the Beetle Turbo's direct injection, 2.0-liter I-4 is about as virile as it is when bolted into a GTI. The strong, linear torque delivery - something we love about the GTI, or virtually any Volkswagen fitted with the 2.0T - remains unchanged. In corners, however, it's obvious the Beetle isn't quite a GTI. Toss the Turbobug into a corner, and its body rolls far more than we'd like. We're also a bit flummoxed by the lack of a traction control switch - this is an enthusiast-oriented model, right? Why must the traction nannies cut throttle during hard acceleration out of lumpy apexes?
On the plus side, the Beetle Turbo does manage to offer the most compliant suspension arrangements in our group. Potholes, frost heaves, expansion joints, and other gaps in tarmac are largely swallowed whole and smoothed with ease. Then again, we said the exact same thing about the GTI. Add in the fact the GTI is less expensive and roomier than the Beetle Turbo, and the Bug's business case starts to vaporize.
"I hate that Volkswagen is trying to slip us a cheapened GTI for essentially the same price as a GTI," says Zenlea, "even though a cheapened GTI is still really darn good."
"The real issue is the amount of equipment you get for the price," writes Floraday. "If we were choosing a winner based on powertrain and ride alone, the Beetle would win by a mile."

Cult of Personality Mixed With Bang for the Buck?

Alas, we're not judging these cars in a vacuum. All three strive to deliver style and performance at an affordable price. All three succeed, but in slightly different ways. Those who grew up with vintage Type 1s and Super Beetles will likely have a soft spot for the Beetle Turbo. Those who prefer the heightened stature and seating position of an SUV will likely prefer the Juke.
Ultimately, we prefer the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. It hails from Korea, but it's something of a Swiss army knife: it's a sports coupe, a practical runabout, and an econobox all in one. It's engaging, entertaining, well equipped, versatile, affordable, and efficient -- and so much so, we kept coming back for more. "The Veloster is a good compromise between design, usability, and quirkiness, " opines Floraday. "In addition to looking good, it offers huge value, and feels almost fully loaded. The only downside is ride quality, but the car drives well enough to satisfy most consumers."
Its funky three-door configuration may not be all that sensible in a two- or four-door world, but as a whole, the Veloster Turbo certainly is.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Front View
After a decades-long run that made it one of the world's favorite cars, the Volkswagen Beetle was resurrected as the Golf-based New Beetle in 1998. It was warmly embraced (mostly by U.S. buyers), but not for long. The initial frenzy saw sales shoot past 80,000 units and then swan dive to fewer than 20,000 by 2010. Volkswagen's somewhat surprising move to give its retro machine a second act has resulted in the all-new (but no longer capital n New) Beetle for 2012, which the company would like you to think of as less cute and much sportier but still retro.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Front Right View 2
The wider, longer, and squatter body shape actually hews more closely to the original Beetle. [See VW design chief Klaus Bishoff's comments on the design here. At the same time, it also manages to be more Speedster and less clown car. Whether it achieves VW's oft-stated goal of being more masculine is a question observers can answer for themselves. One thing is for sure: There's no bud vase this time.
The car is offered as the Beetle and the Beetle Turbo, featuring Golf and GTI powertrains, respectively. Thus, the base car gets VW's underwhelming 2.5-liter five-cylinder paired with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. As in the GTI, the Turbo's 2.0-liter 200-hp four-cylinder comes with your choice of a six-speed stick or a six-speed DSG automatic. There are four trim levels for the five-cylinder Beetle and three for the Beetle Turbo. For the press event, all the cars on hand were Beetle Turbos equipped with the DSG.
Enter the new Beetle and, once again, the driver sits low in the car unless the seat height is cranked up (all versions except the very most basic have 8-way manual adjustment). As before, there's plenty of headroom -- in front, at least. The more cab-rearward layout allows for good front legroom, and the wider body makes for a roomier-feeling interior. The cut-down side window opening, however, means that outward visibility isn't as good as before. The biggest change when sitting behind the wheel, though, is that you're no longer looking out over a vast expanse of dashboard through a steeply raked windshield that seems miles away. The driver now has a much more normal relationship with his (or her) surroundings. (VW hopes it will be "his" 59 percent of the time with this car. Only 35 percent of New Beetle buyers were male.)
Unfortunately, the experience for back-seat passengers has not been transformed. There's a fraction of an inch more headroom, but it is still barely adequate for a six-footer. The bigger issue is minimal knee clearance. This is also a narrow space, strictly for two. Basically, a two-door Golf is a limo by comparison. The trunk, however, has grown significantly larger and is now a respectable 15 cubic feet, expandable to 30 cubic feet via a split rear seatback that folds but not all the way flat.
Back up front, the all-new instrument panel ditches the previous circle theme in favor of a three-gauges cluster and a flatter face that harks back to the original Beetle. Other retro touches include a second glove box with a flip-up lid and body-color panels on the dash and the tops of the doors. In the Turbo, however, the panels are shiny black instead, and the dash trim piece is a rather unconvincing faux carbon fiber; if you prefer body-color, you should be able to order it as an accessory and have your dealer swap it in. Unlike the cost-cut-to-the-bone Jetta, the Beetle interior has a pleasing mix of materials and textures. The one unforgivable bit of cost-cutting is that a center armrest is absent in the lower trim levels.
In keeping with the Turbo's sporty aspirations, it has a thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel; a trio of auxiliary gauges atop the center dash; and firm seats with prominent lateral bolsters. There's cloth upholstery in the first two trim levels and leather for the top-spec version. The cars we drove (and the ones in the pictures) had a large-size navigation screen that won't come to the U.S. market; we'll have the same 3.5-inch nav unit that's found in the Golf; it's on the top trim level of both Beetle models.
Mechanically, this car is a Golf, so it's not surprising that the Beetle is quite good to drive. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder easily scoots the 3089-pound coupe to autobahn speeds, where the car is solid and planted. Boost is nicely integrated and throttle response is linear, and the XDS front differential from the GTI is on hand in the Turbo to better put the power to the ground. The DSG transmission's determination to get you into the highest gear as soon as possible, however, means that the engine doesn't feel particularly lively around town. One solution is to leave the lever in Sport rather than Drive; another would be to call the shots yourself (U.S. cars will have shift paddles); a third would be to skip the DSG altogether, saving yourself $1100 in the process.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Front Right View
The Beetle Turbo uses a damper-strut front suspension and a multilink setup at the rear, while the standard car makes do with a beam axle. The Beetle's springs and dampers are tuned for a firmer ride than in the Golf, and the Turbo is even stiffer than the base Beetle. Then there's an available sport suspension, a no-cost option that was fitted to our test car. Even in this maximum-sporty guise, the Beetle isn't as hardcore as a GTI, but it was quite responsive through the few curves on our test route outside of Berlin. On the optional 19-inch wheels (which replace 18-inch wheels on the Turbo; the base car has different 18-inch wheels available in place of its standard 17-inch footwear), the Turbo rode pretty stiffly over the bits of patchy pavement in the grungier parts of the city. Strangely, the base car has hydraulic power assist for its steering and the Turbo gets electrically assisted power steering that is a bit light and largely devoid of feel.
So, the Beetle nestles between its more conventionally shaped stablemates in the way it drives and also in the way it's priced. The base car stickers for $19,765 -- $1000 more than a base Golf -- while the Turbo starts at $24,165 ($300 less than a GTI), and tops out at around $30,000.
VW is moving much faster bringing out additional variants with this car. Come next summer, a TDI diesel version will arrive (with a five-speed manual or DSG and rated at 40 mpg highway). At the same, we'll see a convertible, which will be sold with all three engines. Beyond that, there's talk of a Beetle R with even more power and, potentially, all-wheel drive. It's all part of VW's plan to make this iteration of the Beetle more of a mainstream player rather than a fashion piece whose sales pop and then drop.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo
Base price (with destination): $24,165
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy)
22 / 30 mpg
Engine:
2.0L I-4 turbo
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed dual-clutch
Curb weight: 3089 lb
Wheels, tires: 19-inch wheels, 235/40ZR19 ContiSportContact 3 tires
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
The Beetle is based on the Golf, a car that offers a superb balance of comfort and superior driving dynamics. However, the base Beetle has been stripped of its multilink rear suspension and excellent electric power steering. Instead, there's a less sophisticated torsion-beam setup in the rear and overboosted hydraulic power steering. Power for the base car comes from the 170-hp five-cylinder that is peppy but somewhat gravelly at high rpm. If you're really interested in the sportier character that Volkswagen is hyping, you want the Beetle Turbo, which is much more true to the GTI that inspired it. Steering weight is superb, the suspension is firmer without being jarring, and prodigious power comes from the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The base Beetle uses a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, and the Turbo raises the engagement factor with a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic that delivers crisp, speedy shifts. The interior features slick body-color accents and the simple, intuitive controls that Volkswagen is known for. The bud vase of the first New Beetle is gone, but there's an optional second glove box high on the dashboard as a nod to the original Beetle. There's enough headroom for six-footers in the rear but only enough legroom for small children. The Golf and the GTI offer slightly better driving dynamics and more practicality, but if you're a sucker for style, the Beetle is a smart small car with substance beneath the surface.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Shark Observation Cage Side View
Volkswagen is setting the standard for unconventional advertising -- the automaker is planning to create a shark observation cage fashioned after the 2012 Beetle. The Beetle cage will be used in the 25th-annual Shark Week on Discovery that airs August 12-16.
2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI Rear Three Quarter
Volkswagen has announced pricing for the third version of the new Beetle: the diesel-swilling Beetle TDI will start at $24,065, after a $770 destination charge. The 2013 Beetle TDI goes on sale in August.
Beetle Fender Edition Right 1
The production version of the Volkswagen Beetle Fender will debut at the Auto Mobil International show in Leipzig, Germany starting June 2 alongside the Scirocco GTS, CC R Line, and CrossPolo Urban White concepts. Only the Beetle Fender has been announced for the U.S.
2012 Abt Volkswagen Beetle Left Rear
Although offered with an optional turbocharged engine and even the ultra-rare VR6-powered RS model, the previous-generation Volkswagen New Beetle could never quite totally shake its “chick car” image. The 2012 model has a shape and styling designed to appeal to a broader demographic, with VW specifically targeting a greater male market share. But if VW’s factory options aren’t distinctive or aggressive enough for you, German tuner Abt has you covered.

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$18,995

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
PZEV FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I5
20 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
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EX FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4
30 MPG City | 40 MPG Hwy
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2012 Volkswagen Beetle
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
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$18,995
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2012 Volkswagen Beetle
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
PZEV FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I5
170hp
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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.5L I5Engine
Fuel economy City:
20 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
28 MPG
Horsepower:
170 hp @ 5700rpm
Torque:
177 ft lb of torque @ 4250rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
36,000 miles / 36 months
Powertrain
60,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
36,000 miles / 36 months
Maintenance
36,000 miles / 48 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:20
Component
TIRES
Summary
VOLKSWAGEN IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2012 BEETLE VEHICLES. SOME VEHICLES MAY BE EQUIPPED WITH SUMMER TIRES THAT FAIL TO COMPLY WITH FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 110 "TIRE SELECTION AND RIMS" AND 139 "NEW PNEUMATIC TIRES FOR LIGHT VEHICLES."
Consequences
DUE TO AN ERROR AT THE FACTORY, THE AFFECTED VEHICLES WERE PRODUCED WITH SUMMER TIRES THAT ARE POSSIBLY NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 110 "TIRE SELECTION & RIMS" AND 139 "NEW PNEUMATIC TIRES FOR LIGHT VEHICLES." IN ADDITION, CUSTOMERS MAY BE UNAWARE THAT THEIR VEHICLE IS EQUIPPED WITH SUMMER PERFORMANCE TIRES. SUMMER TIRES HAVE DIFFERENT GRIP AND PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS. THESE ISSUES MAY LEAD TO AN INCREASED RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy
VOLKSWAGEN WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND REPLACE THE NONCOMPLIANT TIRES, FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT VOLKSWAGEN AT 1-800-822-8987.
Potential Units Affected
83
Notes
VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA, INC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:21
Component
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:SENSOR/CONTROL MODULE
Summary
Volkswagen is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Beetle vehicles, manufactured from February 2012, through August 2012, and equipped with leather sport seats. If the right front passenger seat gets wet, the occupant control module may not properly detect the presence of a child restraint installed in the seat.
Consequences
If the control module does not detect a child seat installed, the airbag will not turn off. If the airbag does not turn off, in the event of a crash necessitating front airbag deployment, a child secured in the child seat may be at an increased risk for serious injury.
Remedy
Volkswagen will notify owners, and replace the control modules, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during January 2013. Owners may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-822-8987.
Potential Units Affected
2,471
Notes
VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA, INC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:41
Component
SUSPENSION:REAR
Summary
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Jetta vehicles manufactured March 1, 2010, to November 30, 2012, and 2012-2013 Beetle vehicles manufactured March 1, 2011, to July 31, 2013. The durability of the rear trailing arms may be reduced in vehicles whose rear trailing arms have been previously deformed, such as a result of a rear or side-rear impact crash.
Consequences
The reduced durability of the trailing arm may result in its sudden fracture, possibly causing loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install a sheet metal inlay on the rear axle trailing arms designed to prevent a sudden loss of control in the event of trailing arm sudden fracture, free of charge. The recall began April 7, 2015. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298.
Potential Units Affected
442,066
Notes
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.


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